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Understanding the Linux Kernel, 2nd Edition [School & Library Binding]

Daniel Plerre Bovet , Marco Cesati
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 76.19
Price: CDN$ 70.82 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

January 2003 0613912020 978-0613912020 2

To thoroughly understand what makes Linux tick and why it's so efficient, you need to delve deep into the heart of the operating system--into the Linux kernel itself. The kernel is Linux--in the case of the Linux operating system, it's the only bit of software to which the term "Linux" applies. The kernel handles all the requests or completed I/O operations and determines which programs will share its processing time, and in what order. Responsible for the sophisticated memory management of the whole system, the Linux kernel is the force behind the legendary Linux efficiency.

The new edition of Understanding the Linux Kernel takes you on a guided tour through the most significant data structures, many algorithms, and programming tricks used in the kernel. Probing beyond the superficial features, the authors offer valuable insights to people who want to know how things really work inside their machine. Relevant segments of code are dissected and discussed line by line. The book covers more than just the functioning of the code, it explains the theoretical underpinnings for why Linux does things the way it does.

The new edition of the book has been updated to cover version 2.4 of the kernel, which is quite different from version 2.2: the virtual memory system is entirely new, support for multiprocessor systems is improved, and whole new classes of hardware devices have been added. The authors explore each new feature in detail. Other topics in the book include:

  • Memory management including file buffering, process swapping, and Direct memory Access (DMA)
  • The Virtual Filesystem and the Second Extended Filesystem
  • Process creation and scheduling
  • Signals, interrupts, and the essential interfaces to device drivers
  • Timing
  • Synchronization in the kernel
  • Interprocess Communication (IPC)
  • Program execution
Understanding the Linux Kernel, Second Edition will acquaint you with all the inner workings of Linux, but is more than just an academic exercise. You'll learn what conditions bring out Linux's best performance, and you'll see how it meets the challenge of providing good system response during process scheduling, file access, and memory management in a wide variety of environments. If knowledge is power, then this book will help you make the most of your Linux system.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

received a degree in mathematics in 1992 and a Ph.D. in computer science (University of Rome, "La Sapienza") in 1995. He is now a research assistant in the computer science department of the School of Engineering (University of Rome, "Tor Vergata"). In the past, he served as system administrator and Unix programmer for the university (as a Ph.D. student) and for several institutions (as a consultant).

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
I am CS student and I had been confused by my OS textbooks with bunch of abstract block diagrams, pseudo codes, and implementation examples on different hardware platforms. I know OS handles interrupts, uses locks, manages process, do file-IO caches, but I want to have a clear picutre of how these really work together. I try to dig Linux kernel code by myself but only finds more questions and frustrations. This book helps me at this point. It describes x86 hardware (which unfortunately not well taught in my CS architecture class), illustrate data structures and code so I can trace code way much faster. It's a book to HELP you understand the Linux kernel (or a real working kernel than those obsolete/only_avaiable_in_super_computing_center ones in the old OS textbooks). If you are already a super OS programmer or C/asm hacker you don't need this book cause you may know things faster by reading the source. You can't use this book to learn the philosophies of OS design, nor can you understand the kernel detail without actual code trace. It may not be up-to-date for a weekly-refreshing software (which book can?), but once you learn the gory details, tracing the changes is piece of cake.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very decent book on Linux Kernel v2.4 Feb. 2 2004
A very decent book on Linux Kernel v2.4. Based on PC 80x86 architecture, it covers both uni- and multi-processor systems. Very detailed, explains not only how kernel works but also why it was designed this way.
This is an exciting book for anyone seeking advanced insides into Linux Kernel. I rated it 4 for lack of clear separation between Linux and hardware responsibilities. I also wish the author would have conducted a comparison study with Windows, another POSIX-compliant OS.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Herrings for this book Dec 3 2003
This is a good book on the kernel.
only thing lacking is Linux 2.6...
guess it must be hard to write an Uptodate book on the kernel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good detail, but very borring Oct. 7 2003
By A Customer
This is very very borring. You need lots of pep pills to keep reading this day after day, and not really learning how to do something practical....just lots of theory stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indepth-coverage of a complex system Aug. 15 2003
As the title suggests, the author explains concepts
in the linux operating system by using C code.
You need to be able to read C code inorder to understand
the material in the book.
It can get a bit tiring after a while considering that
the author really wants YOU to know LINUX.
The effort is worth it!
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